Sunday, December 21, 2014

Noisepoetnobody—Oso cs

Chittenden Jones Industries

Excellent. Really excellent work. Noisepoetnobody has created a tense and immediate piece of work here about a town in Washington state that was completely buried in a massive mudslide. Abstract beats and drones create a texture that immerses the listener in way that is both pleasurable and anxiety-inducing. It's a little fucked up but I dig this. The way it looks doesn't hurt either. Really nice design where he has broken out of the usual boundaries or the 3 panel j-card. Crucial. 

German Army—Socotra Scripture cs

German Army
Socotra Scripture
Horror Fiction Tapes

German Army is my favorite band today. This tape has that wonderful warm blanket of audio patina that just melts the end of my day. This is what drugs should sound like. 

I love this design. First of all they bent the rules on what goes where on a tape j-card. That's important. Secondly, the j-card is actually pages from a 1962 novel called The Wizard of Linn by Vogt. I have never read this but I'm a little curious. The texture of the paper sounds like the music. This is an important design element. Bravo the the designer and the label. I'm impressed. Maybe I can con them into releasing a blsphm tape. 

German Army—Pennantia cs

German Army
905 Tapes

Another excellent piece from German Army. I guess you call it electronic experimental if you were trying to explain it to a parent of someone you went to high school with 15 years ago. You could also just say that it rules. Excellent samples and loops with a beautiful, ancient wooden sound. The layout is simple and well designed and I'm very pleased with it. You will be too. 

Meghann Wright—s/t cs

Meghann Wright
Black Top Records

Hmmm. Not totally sure why this was sent to me. It's not horrible or anything but it seems like it is far from my musical world. Meghann Wright is a singer/songwriter that sounds a little like Amy Winehouse singing for Frente. Do you remember Frente from the 90s? They did that New Order cover that everyone loved and an entire other record that no one remembers. Anyhow, that's pretty much what we have here. Soulful, adult contemporary rock that brings to mind Adele more than anything. The tape has a super 90s look as well. It's really not something I enjoy expect for the fact that I keep imagining that I am watching Lost in Translation and the band in the bar, Soulsalito, says, "Thank you, thank you. We're Soulsalito. Uh, we have cassettes for sale." 

Battalion of Cloudships/Faint Glow—split cassette

Battalion of Cloudships/Faint Glow
split cassette
Assorted Psychedelia

So this is almost two years old at this point and I need to apologize again to everyone that I am so behind. Not only do I need to apologize to the producers of so many fine cassettes and music but to the audience that isn't getting the word that these things rule. That said, this thing rules. Faint Glow has been reviewed on here before but this is probably my favorite thing of theirs so far. Super simple and brittle. Like the music frayed wires would like to listen to. It's awesome. Battalion of Cloudships, besides having an awesome name, have really done something special here. It's sad and deeply hurting. I really love when I find something that acts as a mirror to how I feel most of the time. I'm going to were out this cassette. Someone needs to put this out on a one sided 7" or something. 

The tape looks great. Simple O card that has been deftly assembled to have some real depth and texture. Really nice. The type treatment is very minimal but done well. They even used a ligature. Nice. 

At Jennie Richie—The Communists Garden Expanded EP plus cs

At Jennie Richie
The Communists Garden Expanded EP plus
Readymade Tapes

I will never own everything At Jennie Richie has put out and that's a bit of a bummer. Luckily though sometimes things get released again and I get to hear a bit more. This is one of those cases. This is a excellent example of the collaborative nature of At Jennie Richie. Whether they are working with irr. app. (ext.) or a child there is always something sort of brand new happening. This is a beautifully strange collection of disparate tracks that will slightly pull you brain apart. Consider yourself lucky. 

I dig the look of this thing. The type and image on the front are pretty low-quality and resolution but it somehow works really well. I think because part of this was a digital only release at one point it makes the hyper-digital nature of the artwork really the perfect choice. Find this. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wolf Eyes—Mangled LSD Lines Flexi

Wolf Eyes
Mangled LSD Lines "Live in Chicago 2014" Flexi

This bright orange flexi disk contains about 5 mins or so of live Wolf Eyes from this year. Nauseous-inducing churning punctuated with some piercing excellence at the end. It's what you may expect from Wolf Eyes but I fucking love it. It's super weird as far as packaging goes which is usual for Wolf Eyes' releases. This one contained randomly cut pieces of a weekly. Possibly the Stranger. Limited to 100 copies. It's good. 

Ice Orgy—2 cs

Ice Orgy
Univos Workshop

borrowed photo. awesome work...

I was a big fan of the first Ice Orgy cassette. The music and packaging were all there. Beautifully done work that took my breathe away and gave me something to work towards with my own label, Dead Accents. This release, or sequel if you will, continues with that awe I felt two years ago. The drones are intense and unnerving while still holding onto this subtle beauty. The letterpresses packaging looks amazing and is really well printed. The attention to detail is superb and I can't recommend this enough to everyone who makes and enjoys cassettes as much as I do. This is the label/person I would most want to release a BLSPHM release because of how nice and tasteful this is. Bravo. 

Submissions—II cs

SBMSSNS (Submissions)
Skrot Up

This is pretty rad. If you dig the idea of a heavier Nadja that lives closer to the world of Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste-era Ministry and maybe a touch of Deustch Nepal then you will dig this. I sure did. I know a friend that would actually shit his pants for this. It's things like this that get me excited about doing this blog. Discovering something new and weird that I never knew existed. These guys are on the map for me now. 

The layout is okay. The type is clean and strong—they even knew to letterspace their capital letters. I sorta wish they did some art of some kind on the inside but it's pretty strong. I like the image of Jack Kerouac being attacked by a snake on the cover or whatever that is...

Auburn Lull—Hiber cs

Auburn Lull
Geographic North

An excellent if not unusual drone/space-rock cassette from Michigan. I haven't heard any of this band's other work but this is just the right amount Music for Airports for me. That era of Brain Eno's work should be cast in bronze and shot to all ends of the universe. Auburn Lull could be right up there with him. It may be a little too on-the-nose for some but I can' get enough. This also has a slightly dirtier sound that I think really sets them apart. This is great…

The layout is very interesting. The typography is very interesting but it's also a little hard to follow if you aren't sure what the land is called to begin with. Maybe if they had messed with the weights of the type a little it could have helped someone like me that didn't know what I was receiving but it's still one of the better type treatments I have seen on a cassette here. I really like the artwork wrapping around all the places of the j card you would normally never see artwork. Well done. 

Humongous—Who Among Us cs

Who Among Us
Blacktop Records

So I'm not really familiar with Open Hand but apparently this is the solo project of the frontman, Justin Isham. When I first put this in I got a real strong Future Islands vibe from it and that's pretty cool for me. As the tracks go by it moves towards straight hip hop before it moves back to synth pop but with a heavy vocoder vocal presense a lá Kavinsky. It's a pretty killer album all in all. I imagine a kid moving from Indiana to New York City may bring this as one of his only cassettes and he would be totally fine with that…

The layout isn't much to comment on. There is issues with the typographical hierarchy and there just didn't seem to be too much thought put into the looks at all to be honest. I think the picture on the cover is the same reference that Jake Bannon used for Jane Doe. I think Converge just owns that image now so it's weird to see it used somewhere else. Unless I'm mistaken*… The music on this record is varied, complicated and interesting and the look of this just doesn't convey that at all.

*It's not the same but it's darn close...

Monday, October 6, 2014

How would you like your remains disposed of?

So the other day I received a complaint. It was the first of it's kind but it was a valid complaint that I am taking very seriously. I have received many cds, tapes and vinyl over the years and although some of it will be buried with me, some of it I cannot hold onto. There is only so much space in my life and I am the opposite of a hoarder. A purger if you will. Now I am left with a few options: I can sell it to a record store, I could list it on Discogs, I could throw it away or I could give it away. Let me take just a second to get slightly off track here. DO NOT GIVE YOUR WORK AWAY. Serious. There are, of course, exceptions. Your very close friends who would value your work in a way that only a very close friend would. Yes, of course give stuff to them but you should always be getting something for your work.You need to attach value to your art and you need to receive that value. That doesn't mean money. It actually rarely does but you need to make sure that your work is being valued by the person who is consuming it. Are you going to get a show or be able to tour if you give something away? Are you going to get a review if you give something away? Are you trading? Buying goodwill? Whatever it is you need to be sure that the person on the other end understands or appreciates in some way what you have done. The reason I ask for physical copies is two fold. 1- I want to make sure you cared enough about the work to actually make an object that can be judged for all of it's artistic impact and 2-because it keeps down the amount of reviews I am asked to do of someone's bandcamp thing they did last night. Not that there might not be merit in something presented that way but a needle like that is in a mighty big haystack. People do not value artwork that is free to them. Unless you were raised in a possession-free society deep in the amazon you do not value the art given to you. You might like it, you might appreciate the gesture but the artwork itself needs to be part of a trade somehow. Maybe it's money (which really translates into your time), it may be art of your own or maybe some work of some sort. You need to give something of yourself to be able to receive the artwork and properly appreciate it. This is a little sticky with music as music is an invisible artwork that you consume through your ears. Music has no form and therefore cannot be owned. The packaging and format on the other hand are a separate art forms that can be transferred and, like other types of art, you can become the caretaker of. That's an important point, you can never really own a painting or a sculpture or a 12". They last forever, you do not and therefore you are just the current caretaker of it. Now that I have written this you are probably thinking, "Duh." I know but I think some people have this strange idea that their releases are both worthless and priceless at the same time. I would like them to think about them as art that has value as much as I do. Okay... Done ranting. So here's the poop. If you have sent me something to review, know that you have given it to me. If you want me to do something special with it I will respect your wishes. Those things are keep it,  give it to a stranger, throw it away, sell it for a million dollars on discogs or see if a friend wants it. I will be happy to comply with any of these wishes. That goes for past reviews. You can search my discogs store and see if I am selling something you gave me and we can talk. I don't get paid to write reviews unlike someone who works for a music magazine but on the other hand I don't feel like I deserve to get paid. I do this to spread the word and enjoy the privilege of hearing all of your work. If you remain silent I will proceed as I see fit.

Friday, September 26, 2014

IRM:Closure cd

Malignant Records

Holy crap. This sounds exactly, not sort of like, but exactly like a Dalek making creepy industrial. I would pay this guy to start screaming "EXTERMINATE!" That being said it's still pretty easy to take this seriously as the music is awesome. Really dark and dramatic, from the school of Genesis P-Orridge. I dig it. That layout makes the music seem like it is part of some very evil play made by some lovely dadaists. I think this is pretty well done overall even if it is sung by the Doctor's greatest enemy. 

Idylls—Prayer for Terrene cs

Prayer for Terrene
Tapes of a Neon God

Just like the last tape that TOANG released for Idylls, this one is absolutely amazing. I can't say enough how much I enjoy this one. This is about three floors above heavy, fast and brutal. There are even some songs that move from the world of Converge/Trap Them to a more Birthday Party vibe which is very much my jam. The recording is enviable and the music is just unrelenting. Really fucking good. Buy this tape as soon as you are able. 

It looks pretty good. Very simple and the cover is pretty hard to make out but overall it is well done. I appreciate how TOANG will add tiny lyric sheets to releases that call for them…

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Yautja—Songs of Descent cs

Songs of Descent
Tapes of a Neon God

Yautja is one of those bands that people think I must know well and have played with a thousand times because my current band, Great Falls, sorta shares a sound with them. I do not know them personally and I have yet to play with or see them but I really wish I did or had on all counts. The music is excellent heavy, noise core. There are moments that feel like a heavier Knut or Botch but then songs with an almost Crowbar meets Melvins vibe before dropping into something blazing fast. Others that feel like one of my favorite bands of all time, Spaceboy. It's pretty damn good. 

The layout for the tape is okay. The text kinda disappears into the photo collage on the cover. I honestly would have switched the cover and inside cover. It's great that it includes an insert thought with all the lyrics. 

Trepaneringsritualen & Sutekh Hexen—One Hundred Year Storm cs

Trepaneringsritualen & Sutekh Hexen
One Hundred Year Storm
Cloister Recordings/Pesanta Urfolk

Two things. One I have no clue on how that project is pronounced. I have a few of his albums and I basically treat that band name like a character in a fantasy novel. I know it when I see it but I could never say it out loud. Second, I actually had a hard time believing this was recorded live. This is such a wonderful bleak and tragic recording that I was sure this was a long studio endeavor that spanned months. Not a semi-improvised spontaneous recording by Mateo Garcia from last year's Stella Natura Festival. It's a fantastic recording and I would scramble to get a copy of this one. Really crucial. 

It's packed in a black Brad pack that is very, very well designed and illustrated. Definitely a highpoint in cassette design. This is going in the book...

Old Iron—cordyceps cs

Old Iron
self released

So Old Iron is touring the west coast right now and you should go. The band is made up of two of Seattle's most talented and tasteful tattoo artists and one damn fine drummer. The music is somewhere between Torche and Neurosis but with a more rock-sensible sound. The guitarist Jesse Roberts is also the bass player for Seattle's Sandrider and you can hear it a bit. Anyway, these guys rule. The tape sounds great and you should really go see them on tour. The only real issue I have with this whole tape is that the typography is pretty slap-dash. Someone just sort of filled the spaces with text instead of composing the sections of their layout. Also the text on the spine is upside down. I don't enjoy when that happens but it happens often enough I think it may be a conscious choice and not a mistake. Oh well...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Nipple Stools—Turkish Circuits cd

Nipple Stools
Turkish Circuits
self released/bicelphalic music

plastic. metal on metal. gravel. depth. harvesters. an orchestra. tapes. melt. 

This is quite good. It looks okay. Not as good as it sounds. I highly recommend finding this though. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Apologies and Explanations

So here is the deal. I have been having a very hard time keeping up on the blog this summer. Between all of the design work, being a dad, teaching letterpress, health issues, writing an album, putting together Dead Accents releases, illustrating shirts and wedding invitations... Well, you get the idea. The blog has started to really fall by the wayside and I hate that. So here is what I am going to do: I am going to accept submissions between now and August 4th—which is my birthday—and then I am going to stop accepting until I am done with everything that has been sent to me. I figure if you took the time to send it to me, I can take the time to write about it. Just not right now. It may take me a whole year but I will do it. I am sure a few new ones will sneak their way in there but I am going to make this giant pile disappear. Thanks for checking in. New releases will start appearing very shortly.

Here is my address:

1436 NW 60th st #1
Seattle, WA 98107

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hooves—Valley of the Craftsmen cs

Valley of the Craftsmen
Self released

Hooves are a 4 piece psychedelic/post rock band that hail from Spokane Washington. I have had the honor of playing with them a few times and seeing them change through the years. They started as a two piece and have since expanded and it has expanded their sound greatly. Joe Preston formally of These Arms are Snakes is an excellent drummer and he is really the conductor of sorts in this band. That seems to be common in instrumental bands, at least the great ones like Don Caballero or Hella. These tracks have a slightly Pelican vibe to them but I would say they go a lot deeper and further into the aether. Hooves is definitely a band to catch live and if you do you should buy this lovely cassette. It looks fantastic but I wouldn't expect any less from drummer Joe Preston who is also an accomplished graphic design/printer.

Chaostic Magic—3" dvd

Chaostic Magic
3" dvd
self released

My daughter did not enjoy this. I was actually a little surprised because it is filled with amazing visuals that bring to mind Paul Klee and Joan Míro meets this weird tape of visual experimentations that I found at a goodwill 20 years ago. She usually loves that stuff but she's also 4 so what are you going to do? The music is not really music so much as a guitar and a violin being tortured into something beautiful. It's a lovely little package and I hope you find one. 

Boar—Dead Existence cd

Dead Existence
Breaching Static

I received this a long time ago and I'm just getting to it. That's the truth of it all. I am way behind. It's not intentional but I have about 50 things to review and I am going to get to all of them but it's tough. I may just have to stop accepting things for a year or so. We shall see… Anyhow, this is awesome. I only really get to listen to cds in my car and this one has been such a nice, noisy companion for traffic that I think it may have increased my anxiety to an almost homicidal level. That is a high I can get behind. Seriously though this is an excellent cd that skirts the line between traditional noise and HNW quite nicely. There is grit here, and lots of it. I would recommend tracking down Boar's releases as soon as you are able. This cd may be all gone though because of my delay. Sorry.

Boar—You're all Lame Fucks 5" lathe

You're all Lame Fucks
Breaching Static

This lathe is so clear and beautiful I could stare at it all day. That's actually one of my two issues with this; the lathe looks so amazing that the packaging itself becomes very underwhelming. I really wish they had eight shown off the lathe with the packaging or done something nicer than a xeroxed sheet of paper folded in half. Imagine a letterpressed sleeve with the lettered pushed into the paper the same way the sounds are pressed into the clear plastic. It would make owning this mandatory and not just suggested. Suggested because Boar rules and the sounds on this, static broken noise, are fucking killer. Unfortunately for me my record player had a really hard time playing this. It took about a dozen attempts before I got it to play. This is my second issue although it may just be my record player. I think I am due for a new needle. The grooves are just a little light for my needle. Still when it landed right it sounded great. I need to know who made these.

I Watched You Die—I Want You All Dead 7" lathe

I Watched You Die
I Want You All Dead
Breaching Static

I love the names of both the project and the release. It makes me happy. Anyhow, this is another lathe from Breaching Static. More brutal noise from this label that is becoming a label to really pay attention to. The sounds on this are killer and I found it much easier to play than the Boar 5" lathe. Still I would run to this label and buy both of these right away. The packaging is pretty lacking on this release as well but hopefully their next releases will take as much care in the visual as they do the aural. I wish I had the time to offer my letterpressing skills at this point… maybe soon. 

One Master—Live in the Castle of Quiet cs

One Master
Live in the Castle of Quiet
No Visible Scars

This is a well recorded live cassette from a radio show on WFMU. One Master does this traditional Black Metal thing pretty well. Heavy, epic and dark with that tinge of sadness that all decent black metal needs. The vocals have a tragic quality that I always look for. I have never heard of this band but I think I will need to check out what other releases they have. 

Their logo is pretty unique. A little more clever than your average black metal logo while not looking at all fussy or over-precious. 

Cameron Michael Nichols-Rage—Let's Play! cd

Cameron Michael Nichols-Rage
Let's Play!
Readymade Tapes

This exists somewhere between too adorable to critique and pretty damn good regardless. This is basically a 2 year old making noise on things and really accomplished noise makers collaborating and expanding on the cutest source material imaginable. Some tracks are a little unlistenable but there are some stand outs on here that will blow you away. Most notably Magnetic Lucifer (who I think might be Crank Sturgeon), irr. app. (ext.) and At jennie Richie & Ressler. It's really worth hearing and I hope Cameron's parents keep doing this every year. I would love to hear how this progresses. 

The cd itself looks like something a grandma might put together around a birthday and I think that just makes it all the more adorable. Well done Cameron. 

Morgirion—None Left to Worship cs

None Left to Worship
No Visible Scars

Fuck! This is some crazy blackened grind/thrash. Fast, fast, fast. Seriously. Whoever this human is he seriously deserve to tour everyday until he can no longer grind like that. This has all the aesthetics of naive black metal but it's faster and with totally brutal vocals that are more akin to Discordance Axis. This is rad. 

Q///Q Azores Azul & Crude Gourds cs

Azores Azul & Crude Gourds
Skrot Up & Singapore Sling respectively

So I got a couple Q///Q cassettes within a couple weeks of each other so I decided to put these together. Q///Q is a nice Elecetro-experimental group that plays lovely music that is perfect for drawing too. I mean, it is for me because that is what I have been listening to it for. I am not super fluent in this genre so you will have to excuse me if I compare this to Cliff Martinez who garnered a lot of fame from his work on the Drive soundtrack but I hear a nice similarity with his work here that I really enjoy. Q///Q is a bit grittier and delves into some more interesting directions but I think I could here this group doing some really amazing soundtrack work if they pursued that direction.

Both tapes look pretty good although I am not that into the type treatment inside the one on Singapore Sling. The cover looks great but the inside is a bit of a mess. The cassette on Skrot Up looks amazing though. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Glass Coffin/Harassor—Split lp

Glass Coffin/Harassor
Split lp
Universal Consciousness/Husk Records

Yes! I love Glass Coffin and I love Harassor and I guess someone figured that out because they obviously made this record for me. Glass Coffin does that amazing naive-bedroom Black Metal thing that totally works for me. I gotta say that this is also incredibly catchy. You will find yourself singing the chorus for the first song while you do dishes at least every night for a week. Harassor does this blackened punk/thrash thing that somehow sounds like music stopped after Bathory and has now progressed to this. It's modern and relevant but also has this classic dark feel in both the music and production. It's real damn good.

The art is from Sir Josh Lay and it's killer. Fits perfect for the music and just makes me so damn happy. Highly recommended.

Hogra 7"

Trust Krusher Records

Excellent harsh noise from Hogra. It has this cool canned sound that I hear from time to time that I really enjoy. If you are a fan of HNW i assume you are familiar with Hogra's work. He has more than a few vinyl records and cassettes floating around. I like saying that word outlaid— Hogra. Hogra. Hogra…

The layout is probably cool but it's printed so dark that it feels like a mistake and is basically illegible. The vinyl though is the coolest smoke-filled clear vinyl I have ever seen. This guy is making me a fan. 

Ritual Addict —Obediently into Nowhere lp

Ritual Addict 
Obediently into Nowhere
Enemy Closer

Seattle's Ritual Addict have recently changed their name from Sane Reaction but this is the same blazing-fast politically-charged punk that made me love them live. Definitely for fans of Christ on Parade, GBH and Assück. It's got this late 80's, early 90's sound that you will love very much. Fast, screaming punk rock with a touch of grindcore. 

The packaging is also very 90's and it's awesome. I can't speak to the art on the back cover because I drew it but the whole package feels like it came out in 1992. This would have been worn out by the time I got through my senior year. I also love that the vinyl is bright transparent blue. Nothing in the layout is that color and it has that feel of the early Revelation records color vinyl spree where everything was a random color just for the hell of it. I love it. 

Earl Long—Term Two lp

Earl Long
Term Two
Shan GORIL la Records

I was in a band for a short time called Andyland. It was a totally improvised project with revolving musicians that was a lot of fun but had absolutely no focus at all. In my mind we sounded like Whitehouse or Current 93 but in reality it probably sounded like a mess. At least when I played with them.  Anyhow, Earl Long reminds me a lot of that but with much better musicians. They fall into these cool grooves and the music is pretty good but it doesn't really resonate with me. It feels like it's missing something. I'm not sure what, but I almost wonder if they are too good at their instruments. Like there isn't enough experimentation happening. I may have to listen to this a few more times because there really is a cool thing happening but I am having a hard time finding it.

I really don't like the way this looks. The layout is very unattractive and the text looks like it was copied from a Christian rock cd from 1997. I just can't get over the drop shadow on everything. It's driving me crazy. 

Vomir/Hogra split 7"

Blackseed Recordings and Releases

Two current greats of HNW decided to get together and make a scary little baby. Vomir's track is a little less brutal than usual but it's way more anxiety-inducing. It's a nice change although Vomir could do straight up HNW forever and I would be fine with it. The Hogra track is more over the top. It sounds like a dying radio on a sinking ship. Tragic. It's killer stuff all around.

The layout is pretty punk and sparse. It looks like a 7" released in 1993 and I kinda like it. It's not really that good but it just feels right for some reason. I think the milky clear vinyl with plain white labels helps as well. Anyway, there is only 100 of these so good luck. 

Lord Time—Black Whole at the End of the Tunnel lp

Lord Time
Black Whole at the End of the Tunnel
Universal Consciousness

When this was a cassette only release I reviewed it and I dug it. Now that it is on vinyl I am very excited. It's still awesome but I'm hoping this is the beginning of a trend of more Universal Consciousness cassettes finding their way to vinyl. This is the second Lord Time LP but I think I am now ready for a couple Moonknight lps or the record I would have to buy almost every copy just in case it got worn out, the Mawdryn release. I think the best way to make this happen would be if you would all purchase this excellent release from Lord Time. It's so fucking black. 

It looks fantastic. My version is screen printed and spray painted and fucking awesome. Buy.


Sorry for the delay. Family emergency that includes multiple surgeries, a blood transfusion and my pending financial ruin. Not kidding. How does someone as poor as my pay a $200,000.00 bill. It's a long story. I will try to get to everything as soon as I can but at this point I request that you probably shouldn't bother sending me anything until I mention otherwise. I just won't get to it for over a year at this point.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Propast—Vestnik Preispodnji cs

Vestnik Preispodnji
Misanthropic Intolerance

We argue about Black Metal. All of us. What is and what isn't black metal is something we have impregnated message boards with for years. We are so insecure in our ideas of black metal we worry that if we say we like Wolves in the Throne Room that means we are ignorant of what true black metal is. Some of us like to talk about bands like Liturgy or Deafheaven as being black metal or at least the new wave of black metal and that starts a whole other argument. I for one do not think of those prior two bands—Liturgy or Deafheaven—as being black metal. They certainly use the vocabulary of black metal—the screeching vocals, tremolo picking and blazing drums—but they lack the main, most important ingredient. Atmosphere. Without that instantly identifiable atmosphere of icy-cold, empty, haunted, horror-filled depression you are not within the limited confines of black metal. That's why Burzum can put out a record of keyboards and it's more blackened than the Explosions in the Sky at 500mph style of Deafheaven. I'm not trying to talk shit here. I own all those Deafheaven records and I enjoy them but they are about as black metal as Ned's Atomic Dustbin. So what is the new wave of black metal? I don't know, nor do I actually care but Propast is certainly refreshing to these old ears. This is fast brutal black metal that I think belongs right next to the best record of last year, Inquisition's Obscure Verses for the Multiverse. It's a bit different but it contains the same frenzied angst and the same level of musicianship that blew me away. Propast also has only two members, a drummer and guitarist/singer. Aksinomantijan and Kasapin respectively, and they are able to capture the atmosphere of hopelessness and channel it into some wonderfully hateful tracks. The cassette itself looks great with both roman and cyrillic text. The j-card is embossed with something wicked-satanic and the design is solid. All tracks were recorded in Serbia and I think that adds to the mystique of desperation, at least for me. They might not be living in cabins in the middle of nowhere, never sure when the next World War is going to turn their life into a scene from Come and See but they certainly understand darkness and horror way more than someone who complains about having to connect between BART and MUNI too late at night. I guess I look at it in the same way I look at Hip-Hop. If I  hear a rapper is from Detroit I am a lot more interested at what he or she has to say as opposed to a handsome white guy from Seattle. I guess that is what this whole conversation is about. Perspective. I have a feeling this conversation will not be ending anytime soon. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Faint Glow—Dust in the Sun cdr/Horror Vacui cs

Faint Glow
Dust in the Sun cdr/Horror Vacui cs
Self Released

Faint Glow does quiet a good job at the minimal, noisy drone. This would be the  second time in as many weeks I have made the comparison but I think that Faint Glow could even be at home on Hanson Records. Maybe even Worthless Recordings. It's pretty killer stuff. Of the 10 tracks on the cdr most are very focused and not too long. I like it and I think you might as well. I have zero complaints in that department. The cassette is even a little better in my mind. It's a bit more piercing and brutal but still focused and drive. I hope to hear more from Faint Glow in the coming months. 

     My issues with these releases, and the reason I am reviewing them together, is the packaging. There's is nothing there. The artist thought enough to get completely blank cdrs but then they just print out some info and scotch tape it to the cdr. Same with the cassette. The Arigato packs for both the cdr and the cassette are killer and more people should use them but these just have poorly stenciled text on them that is far south of both legible or attractive. I can get with minimal and messy but this looks like the artist thought that this part of sharing music was either too much effort or worse yet, beneath them. I'm probably wrong but that is what is being communicated to me. I would love to see some of the aural creativity become visual. If you are going to go with minimal text and no images then make it a strong typographic layout with structure and beauty in it's simplicity. If you are going to use plain cdrs (please no more tape, you can order inexpensive custom rubber stamps from then make the packaging exciting. All of the Wolf Eyes cdrs I own are basically just memorex cdrs with sharpie on them but the packaging is a crazy, beautiful collage with hand painted elements. You want to hold it and own it. That's the thing with physical copies these days. You must make it something that someone would want to touch. Tapes and cdrs are becoming fetish objects. We can just as easily download stuff all day but that isn't interesting to me at all. That is why I don't review downloads. Making music well is difficult and Faint Glow has a pretty good handle on that but making objets d'art is extremely difficult. I want to see how much you care about your music. Show me with my eyes before you show me with your ears. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sujo—Repent///Ondan cs

Auris Apothecary

Beautiful release by Auris Apothecary. I have alway sheen blown away by their innovation and attention to detail on their releases. This is no exception. The translucent cover in the clear DVD sized case with the totally clear cassette is awesome but then they went the extra mile and printed the download card on transparent plastic as well. It's pretty amazing wrapped up in the double sided obi strip. I think they could have done something a little different with the typography but it's not bad. 

The music is fantastic. This picks up were both Birchville Cat Motel and Nadja left off. Well, Nadja is still doing stuff but not like they were a few years ago. Regardless this is real good. Driving drone accompanied by drums and loops that has touches of kraut rock and psychedelic rock. 

Levi Jacob Bailey—Shoot Me in the Face Book mini-comic+3" cdr

Levi Jacob Bailey
Shoot Me in the Face Book
Self Published

This mini-comic with a 3" cdr is pretty awesome. There is a huge movement of independent cartoonists in Seattle right now and a lot of them have connections to the noise/experimental music scene. Artists like Max Clotfelter and Marc Palm are two excellent artists that have delved into both worlds perfectly. Levi Jacob Bailey does some very similar work. The noise is great. It's tense and a lot of his textures contrast each other in such a way to create a huge amount of depth. Good stuff. The mini-comic isn't bad but I think he could work them out just a little more. I like the drawings and the short nonsensical stories are great but the backgrounds and some of the execution in general feels pretty rushed. Or maybe like he was really high when drawing. Pencil high, ink sober. Still, it's good stuff and you should check it out. I am glad I did.